Far from the rest of the Cyclades group of islands and not yet known to most of the Greek island hoppers Donousa is one of the top choices for those who love the white and blue Greek island scenery but hate the crowds.
You can either approach it by ferry from Naxos, the notorious Skopelitis that runs daily or a ferry from Piraeus that runs a couple of time each week. Due to the strong winds the day I took Skopelitis ferry from Naxos I would recommend the ferry from Piraeus, especially if you get seasick easily.
Most of the inhabitants of the island (no more than 150 in total) live in the port village, Stavros and unless you are a camper this is where you will find the most choices for accommodation.
The village is picturesque, calm and ideal for afternoon strolls after a beach day in any of the island’s beaches.
There are no organized beaches on the island so better have a sun umbrella with you and be prepared to lie on the soft white sands.
The easiest beach to access is the one in the main village where you can also watch the ferry approach and leave the island, there is a beach bar, Corona Borealis right at the beach.
If you are a nature lover and would rather camp you are lucky in Donousa as you would need to put your tent on the best spot of the island, Livadi beach. There is no organized campsite but rather a piece of land where all campers gather at Kedros beach (also for nudists) and the nearby taverna can provide you with some supplies during your stay.
To approach the mist stunning beach on Donousa you can either hike for about 1 km from the main village or take Donousa Magissa that runs a couple of times per day from the port to the south side beaches.
I strongly recommend hiking there even though there is an uphill and downhill part as you can enjoy some amazing views of the Aegean Sea as well as Kedros beach.
The colour of the waters and sand are so unreal and can keep you there for a whole day as long as you got some sun protection.
For the sea bottom lovers, there are some remainings of a torpedo boat shipwreck very close to the coast on the left side of the beach to explore.
Other beaches worth a visit are Livadi (small sandy beach on the south) which you can approach by boat and Kalotaritissa (north side) which is quite rocky and connected with Stavros with a boat that makes the island tour daily. At Kalotaritissa there is also a traditional taverna.
The best tavernas I tried (maybe no more than 10 tavernas in total on the whole island) are :
- Simadoura ; uphill on Stavros, with panoramic views of the village, run by a Cretan cook who is preparing some amazing delicacies that vary every day. Her masterpieces: the cuttlefish in red sauce and the Cretan fried pies with goat cheese and herbs
- Avli : in the main village, gourmet style, great seafood pasta dishes
There are no big hotels on the islands but rather rooms to let, most of them in Stavros. I stayed at Asterias House that I would really recommend. The owner was super friendly and transferred us from the port in his car, the rooms very spacious with a built-in double bed and a balcony with amazing views to the sea, perfect spot to relax during breakfast and late afternoon.
Nightlife on the island is not super vivid as expected but you can enjoy some drinks at Corona Borealis beach bar or Skantzohoiros bar.
If you haven’t been to the nearby islands before you can combine your visit to Donousa with a visit to Naxos or Amorgos (5 days stay each) and any of the small east Cyclades islands: Koufonisi, Irakleia or Schoinoussa. Spending 3 or 4 days at each one of them is the ideal calm island hopping trip in the Aegean.
There is only one ATM on Donousa and no gas station so make sure to fill your car with fuel if you are planning to take one when visiting Donousa.
Have you ever visited any of the small east Cyclades islands and what were your impressions there?
Are you maybe planning a Greek island retreat any time soon and would like some advice on which islands fits your needs the best? I would be happy to share my ideas with you!